Above, his 1985 tape and below his compilation of early 1980s material on Matthias Lang’s IRRE label.
Berlin based musician, Achim Treu has been home recording since the late 70s. Evolving over the years from youthful projects fiddling with reel to reel recorders to his duo project, Dauerfisch ( with Andre Abshagen), in the 80s, then to his solo project Kunstler Treu and branching out with others including electronic musician, Jon Appleton and also the famous German band, Der Plan, Achim has a wonderful way of manipulating sounds and a razor sharp pop sense that becomes apparent just a few bars into any of his releases. Evidently ( since I do not speak German) the early Dauerfisch tapes were also filled with sarcastic humor which had him namechecked into the Zappa camp ( like many home tapers).
He has also produced other artists and created commercial music for various purposes. His online radio show, UFO Hawaii, is also a real hoot as his penchant for putting sounds together translates well to this format. It is interesting, funny and just plain entertaining.
Robin and I got to be friends with him and his girlfriend, Laura Carleton ( also a tremendous singer and visual artist) when we visited them in Berlin in 1996 and they returned the favor here in the USA in 2001 ( and later). Achim and I are kindred souls when it comes to record collecting and I always enjoy his take on different music. The deeper meaning of the home taping world is exemplified well by the friendship I’ve developed with Achim and Laura.
i actually don’t really recall when or why i started to make my first cassette tape. it must have been the early eighties or so.
i used to come home after school, throw my stuff in the corner, put my headphones on in front of my old reel-to-reel, and there i would sit for the rest of the afternoon recording random noises until my mom came in to drag me to the dinner table.
eventually i had the idea to compile what i considered the “best of” of my autistic output on a cassette tape.
back in those days it was quite a lot of shuffeling tracks back and fourth – always in battle with the ever increasing noise and hiss that came along with dubbing copies of single tracks or complete songs.
the cleaning of tapeheads with q-tips became an obsession. “shamrock” quarter-inch tapes were the cheapest choice back then (we called them “shoestrings”), but unfortunately at the price of ever-growing globs of ferrit rust residue on heads, wheels and everywhere else.
but finally one glorious day the deed was done, and i filled my schoolbag with an intimate quantity of self-made tapes, sporting handmade artwork done on a busted xerox machine and garnished with coloured marker accents.
i named my first work “guten tag!”, which is german for “good day”. the machwerk included lenghty noise experiments along with early experiments using a guitar delay, singing through a newly purchased device called a “flanger”, some satirically meant sideblows on the then popular neue deutsche welle, and other odd but highly ambitious emissions.
the front cover b.t.w. was a picture of my penis, enhanced with a grinning mouth i had earlier cut out of a magazin, and wearing a pair of lennon-like sunglasses.
it comes as no surprise that the number of sold copies (two marks each) was quite limited – only to come back home that day after an uncomfortable conversation with my music teacher, who also didn’t purchase a copy.
i guess it was only the begin of a lifelong struggle to get the message across to an unsuspecting and somewhat conservative audience.
unfortunately and despite the fact that i’m quite an anal coservationist of any of my output, there is no copy left of this extraordinary product of my adolescent years.
…even though, i could bet i kept one somewhere in a box.